With so many people leading busy, sometimes hectic, lives that revolve around work, kids, social functions, and other obligations, it’s often very difficult for co-op/condo/HOA administrators to find residents willing and able to serve their community as board members (or ‘directors’ or ‘trustees,’ depending on what part of the country you’re in). Board members are unpaid volunteers, and the job can sometimes seem like a thankless hassle – but having a complete, competent and committed board is crucial to running a solvent functional building or association.
“It’s hard to get people to serve, but I’ve found that as new people move in, they have a fresh interest in the building,” says Pamela DeLorme, managing partner at Delkap Management Inc., in Howard Beach. “They may be willing to donate their time if it’s explained to them what their responsibilities are.”
What Do You Do?
“The only drawback [of serving on your board] is that you give up some of your personal time that could be spent on other endeavors,” says Asa Sherwood, president of property management firm FirstService Residential Illinois in Chicago, and who was a condo board member for seven years. “The benefits are having a voice in the direction that your community’s going, and a say in how money is being spent in what is typically your largest investment; your home.”
While searching for potential board members, DeLorme says to look at a homeowner’s profession. “Some of them are accountants, some are attorneys, some have a construction or finance background that could all be very helpful to the board,” she says.
For example, DeLorme says she would choose an accountant to work on budgets and keep maintenance costs down. “An attorney, for instance, would be able to give insight into delinquencies or legal actions,” she says. “Many buildings in New York are aging, so we need people with engineering backgrounds who can understand the scope of work that’s needed to maintain the building.”